UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Liverpool look to Marseille with hope

History suggests Olympique de Marseille face a tough test on their visit to Liverpool FC as they bid to become the first French side to win at Anfield.

Liverpool were frustrated in Porto on Matchday 1
Liverpool were frustrated in Porto on Matchday 1 ©Getty Images

Liverpool FC begin their home campaign in the UEFA Champions League with a quick reunion against French opponents. Having knocked out Toulouse FC in the third qualifying round they now lock horns with a Olympique de Marseille side featuring two former Anfield stars.

• Both clubs enjoyed good results on Matchday 1. Liverpool took a point from their encounter with FC Porto at Estádio do Dragão despite being reduced to 10 men just eight minutes into the second half and Marseille recorded their first home win of the season - in any competition - with a 2-0 victory against Beşiktaş JK.

• The Merseyside club’s last encounter with a French outfit came in this season’s third qualifying round where they overcame Toulouse FC 1-0 in France and 4-0 at Anfield to secure their place in the group stages.

• The five-time European Champion Clubs' Cup winners also took on opponents from across the English Channel in last season’s group stage, recording comfortable victories against FC Girondins de Bordeaux. Liverpool won 1-0 in the Stade Chaban-Delmas and 3-0 at home.

• Rafael Benítez will be hoping his team can continue the impressive home form which helped them reach last season’s final in Athens where they lost 2-1 to AC Milan. They lost only one game in front of their own supporters - in the first knockout round against FC Barcelona (1-0) after winning the away leg (2-1) – and won all the other six including the third qualifying round. In that sequence they only conceded four goals.

• History as well as current form suggests a tough assignment awaits Marseille with Liverpool winning eight of their nine home meetings with French opponents in club competition. However some encouragement for Erik Gerets‘s club comes in the fact that the side who avoided defeat were….Marseille in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup fourth round.

• For the Frenchmen it stopped a run of three successive defeats on English soil which started with their first visit: a 4-0 reverse against Southampton FC in the 1976/77 UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup first round.

• The most significant of Liverpool’s eight victories against French opponents was arguably the first, against AS Saint-Etienne in the 1976/77 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-final. En route to their first triumph in the competition, Liverpool recovered from a 1-0 reverse in the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate.

• Marseille's last participation in the UEFA Champions League resulted in a third-place finish in the 2003/04 group stage. The Ligue 1 runners-up will certainly be hoping to improve on their poor away record in that edition when they gained just a single point away from the Stade Vélodrome, a 1-1 draw against FK Partizan. In their other two away fixtures, they lost 4-2 against Real Madrid CF and slipped to a 1-0 loss against eventual winners FC Porto.

• They then went into the UEFA Cup and on their way to the final (where they lost 2-0 to Valencia CF) they met, and beat, two English sides. The 1-1 draw at Anfield (mentioned above) was followed by a 2-1 win in the return leg while in the semi-final a 0-0 draw away to Newcastle United FC set them up for a 2-0 home win.

• Marseille’s last game in England came in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup Round of 32 when a 0-0 scoreline against Bolton Wanderers FC maintained the sequence of away draws. A 2-1 home win then made it six successive games in which they had avoided defeat against English opponents (three wins, three draws). In 12 games Marseille’s record shows W6 D3 L3.

• For Liverpool fans there could be be two familiar faces lining up in the opposition ranks. Now plying their trade for the French side are Djibril Cisse and Boudewijn Zenden. Cisse’s time in England was badly disrupted by injury. He made 78 appearances in three years, scoring 24 goals while the Dutchman meanwhile appeared 47 times.